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Buried in fifth place in the competitive American League East, the Blue Jays must capitalize on weak opponents

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Photo credit:© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mitch Bannon
15 days ago
The Blue Jays play host to the Colorado Rockies this weekend, one of the stinkiest teams in baseball.
The Rockies sport a 3-10 record (third-worst in baseball), their top two starters have ERAs over seven, and they’ve got four regular hitters with batting averages under .175. Simply put, Colorado is one of the worst teams in baseball and they’re the exact kind of team the Blue Jays need to beat up on to return to the postseason in 2024.
Last year, the Blue Jays made the playoffs because of their success against brutal teams. They were just 43-50 against winning clubs in 2023, compared to a 46-33 record against teams under .500. If you want to dive in deeper, they made most of that hay against the five worst squads in MLB — Oakland, Kansas City, Colorado, Chicago, and Washington. Against those five teams, the Jays posted an incredible 23-5 record.
Beating up on the bad teams is by no means a sexy way to compile 90 wins, but it works. I get it if you’re skeptical, though. In my mind, I think that racking up most of your wins against losing teams likely signals a team is simply not good enough to win when it matters, against the good teams. But, that’s just not the case.
The last three World Series champions have posted far better records against teams below .500 during the regular season — the 2023 Rangers (48-27), 2022 Astros (64-29), and 2021 Braves (57-36). In fact, the ’23 Rangers and ’21 Braves had sub-.500 records against winning teams in their title years. You don’t need to beat the good teams to win a title, at least not until October.
Those Texas and Atlanta teams seem to set a bit of a roadmap for the 2024 Blue Jays. Both eventual champs entered the playoffs with 90 or fewer wins and went on to hoist the trophy. It doesn’t seem like many teams (save for the Yankees and Dodgers) are actively trying to win 100+ games anymore. Teams have realized that simply making the playoffs is a valuable ticket, and a potential path to the championship. Just look at last year’s playoffs, where two of the lowest seeds in the bracket (Texas and Arizona) ended up dancing for the trophy in the end.
There really isn’t much benefit to building a team that can post .600 win rates against both winning and losing teams when 90 wins is just as good as 95 or 100. Sure, the playoff bye is nice on paper, but we just saw three of the four bye teams lose in the Division Series last year.
I’m getting a little off track here, let’s get back to the point: because much of the league is playing for 90 wins instead of 100, beating up on the bad teams is a very viable strategy. Given how the team’s opening road trip went against three likely winning teams, it might be the only strategy they got, too.
Beating bad teams is what got Toronto to the playoffs last year, and it could hoist them to the dance again in 2024. But to do that, they actually have to beat said bad teams.
The Jays have the third-hardest schedule in baseball, but they still get their cracks at the league’s worst. They’ll get to play at least one series against every team in MLB this year and two against expectedly awful teams like the White Sox and Athletics. It starts with the Rockies this weekend.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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